January Artist in Residence Dana Zed

This month in the Artist Studio, glass artist Dana Zed is drawing museum goers into her world of mirrors and reflection. Including the public in the process of art making is integral to the mission of the Artist in Residence program, but working within the Kimball Education Gallery and with the public often results in surprising collaborations, as Zed has discovered.

Posted by guest blogger Dana Zed.

Dana Zed

Photo by Todd Marshard

What's going on in the de Young right now is not at all what I expected. My original idea for House of Mirror Reflections was to have the glass sculpture create environments with certain moods in which to draw. The limitations of the space, however, made the placement of drawing stations challenging. So the project has shifted and I am now using drawing to engage the visitors within the space as it is currently installed.

The glass is on the perimeter of the room, between the projection screens and hanging in the windows. The glass sets a tone, an atmosphere, an ambiance.


The colors in the sides of the glass stations change as you walk around them, and as your perspective shifts, what you see changes. This change of perspective is experienced more directly when you sit facing the mirrors–how you see things changes what you see.

I am inviting people to participate in this perspective shift by encouraging them to draw themselves or each other using iPads provided by the de Young. We then print these digital drawings and hang them on the wall.

Portraits on the wall

We have hooked up two of the glass projection screens to scroll through images of digital portraits created by museum goers.


I am also drawing portraits and the third projector is hooked up to my iPad, so that my drawing is visible as I’m creating it. The person sitting in front of me is my inspiration. I try to make it look like them but something else comes through as well.

Pink portrait

Sometimes it looks like the person, sometimes it doesn't. But that isn't really important–maybe I am catching something else.

Goatee portrait

There is something to be amazed by whenever I talk with visitors–some thread of their story. I like and appreciate the interaction and it becomes a part of the portrait.

Draw or be drawn into Dana Zed’s world of mirrors and reflection in the Kimball Education Gallery, Wednesdays–Sundays, 1:00–5:00 p.m. through January 29.